Dogs are a playful species. One of the most rewarding things that you can do as a dog guardian is find out how to play with your dog.
Unfortunately, the main way in which some choose to play with their dogs is by playing endless games of fetch, using a ball launcher for distance, trying to run the energy out of their dogs. Although a few throws of a ball from time to time will not do harm, using that as a main form of exercise will result in the production of a canine athlete, needing ever more exercise to make them tired. Repeated jumping or twisting to get the ball can cause injuries, and can also result in over-arousal, making the dog over-excited and they may have trouble calming down when the play session is ended.
How to play with your dog without risking these types of consequences? There are plenty of other play options available to us for interactive play.
Tug is a game that many dogs really enjoy, and is highly interactive. There are many tug toys available to buy, or a length of soft rope can work as a budget version, although care should be taken not to let the dog chew the rope as they may swallow strands, which could be a serious health risk. Be sure to pitch how hard you pull to the size and age of the dog, and let the dog win sometimes, and watch for signs of the dog becoming over-aroused as this could lead to them snatching at the toy and potentially catching your fingers.
A flirt pole is another interactive way to play with your dog and harnesses some of their natural predatory behaviours. It is also an excellent way of teaching some impulse control, if you cue your dog to wait until released to chase the lure. Done in a fun way, mixing in cues with playtime is a great pick of how to play with your dog and increasing their learning at the same time. Again, be sure to let the dog catch the lure sometimes to avoid them becoming over-aroused or frustrated.
Hide and seek is again a fun example of how to play with your dog. Whether it involves hiding objects around the house and garden and then asking your dog to find them, or having someone keep the dog in one room while you find a hiding spot and then have them search you out with a big celebration when they find you.
There are many great choices of how to play with your dog. Try some with your dogs, find out how they love to play, and strengthen your bond at the same time.